The neighborhood around the building is called the Flatiron District after its signature building.
The initial design by Daniel Burnham shows a similar design to the one constructed, but with a far more elaborate crown with numerous setbacks near the pinnacle. A clock face can also be seen. However, this was later removed from the design.
At the rounded tip, the triangular tower is only 6.5 feet (2 m) wide. The 22-story building, with a height of 285 ft (87 m), is often considered the oldest surviving skyscraper in Manhattan, though in fact the Park Row Building (1899) is both older and taller.
New York's Flatiron Building is not the first building of its type. It is the third building in the flatiron shape, with the first being the Gooderham Building of Toronto, built in 1892, and the second in Atlanta in 1897. Both of the earlier buildings are smaller than their New York counterpart.
I found myself agape, admiring a skyscraper — the prow of the Flatiron Building, to be particular, ploughing up through the traffic of Broadway and Fifth Avenue in the late-afternoon light. – H.G. Wells (1906)
The building, which took its name from the shape forced on it by the triangular lot it was built on – the Flatiron block, so called because it was shaped like a clothes iron – was officially named the Fuller Building after George A. Fuller, founder of the company that financed its construction two years after his death. Locals took an immediate interest in the building, placing bets on how far the debris would spread when the wind knocked it down. The building is also said to have helped coin the phrase "23 skidoo", from what cops would shout at men who tried to get glimpses of women's dresses being blown up by the winds swirling around the building due to the complex geography of the area.
The Flatiron’s interior is known for having its strangely-shaped offices with walls that cut through at an angle on their way to the skyscraper’s famous point. These “point” offices are the most coveted and feature amazing northern views that look directly upon another famous Manhattan landmark, the Empire State Building.
During a 2005 restoration of the Flatiron Building an illegal 15 story vertical advertising banner covered the facade of the building. The advertisement elicited protests from many New York City residents, prompting the New York City Department of Buildings to step in and force the building's owners to remove the advertisement.
The Flatiron Building was featured on the non-fiction television program Big, Bigger, Biggest, shown in the UK and on the Science Channel in the United States.